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your turn by Amy Hillman Today's Deans: Executives or Entrepreneurs? I RECENTLY MET with an entrepreneur who believes all businesspeople can be divided into two groups: entrepreneurs and executives. He contends that only the rare individual is able to switch back and forth between roles. His theory fits well with management research that indicates entrepreneurs typically launch new businesses, while executives take over only after those companies have become successful. However, I'm uncomfortable when I consider what this model suggests for business school deans. Most of our institutions have been around for a long time. Does that make all of us executives, more like CEOs than entrepreneurs? My take is that business school deans have, for the most part, been executives. Many schools have a hall of deans' portraits, mostly featuring white men in conservative suits. At any universitywide deans meeting, the business school dean is the one most likely to be a silver-haired individual in business attire. We're a very executive-like group. But all of us might need to develop a more entrepreneurial spirit as we deal with some of the change and uncertainty facing us today. Higher education in general is coping with many challenges: reduced revenue from traditional sources, public skepticism about the value of higher education, and new competitors offering substitute educational products. I'm convinced that, to navigate our changing environment, we have to take risks and get out in front of the changes facing us. To provide the type of training today's workers want, we might need to reinvent ourselves. We might have to become entrepreneurs. A Cluster of Opportunities I see five areas where business school deans need to show entrepreneurial spirit: 1. Revamping the MBA. Traditional two-year MBA programs are losing popularity in favor of part-time and evening programs; at the same time, more candidates signing up for the GMAT are younger and have less business experience. Maybe the full-time MBA should undergo a major overhaul. Perhaps it should even return to its roots and revert to being primarily a degree for those with nonbusiness undergraduate degrees and no work experience. 2. Integrating analytics into the curriculum. We're all aware of how Big Data is changing business, but we've been slow to change our courses to reflect its importance. Even a field like marketing—which used to be a major for people who didn't like numbers—has become reliant on data. If you visit most senior marketing executives today, you'll find that the computer monitors on their desks are open to spreadsheets, not slogans. 3. Embracing online education. While many business schools now offer online or hybrid programs, most of the first efforts were led by schools that weren't at the top of the rankings. At a time when "distance learning" was almost synonymous with "low quality," the AACSB-accredited schools that were early purveyors of online MBAs were the entrepreneurs: schools like the University of Florida, Indiana University, Penn State University, the University of Maryland, and my own school, Arizona State University. Administrators need to understand that online education can offer exceptional quality—and that more of our potential students will demand it. And then these administrators need to pioneer such programs at their institutions. 4. Exploring new models of education. One of the hottest trends in education right now is the massively open online course, or MOOC. When Columbia University's Rita McGrath covered the MOOC movement at To provide the type of training today's workers want, we might have to become entrepreneurs. 64 January/February 2014 BizEd

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